Back to the complete issue
Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Will covid-19 change city life as we know it? Urban experts weigh in.

Will covid-19 change city life as we know it? In a word, yes — city life will change, but perhaps not as much as we expect, suggests a Foreign Policy piece. Continued social distancing and fears around hygiene may cause people to eschew dense environments, including city apartments and crowded public transport, in favor of suburban houses, says professor Richard Florida. Pandemic-driven fear of human interactions could endanger tens of mns of service jobs, predicts professor Edward Glaeser. And urban specialist Robert Muggah envisions short-term changes to urban planning, ranging from mass test and tracing to retrofitting public spaces for social distancing, along with an acceleration of long-term trends such as increased digitalization, a shift to remote working, and the growth of driverless cars.

Many also emphasize the resilience of cities: Urbanization has always been a greater force than infectious disease and cities often bounce back stronger after a widespread illness, Florida says. And while many of our favorite shops and restaurants may be forced to close, the human need to mingle in “fearless proximity” to one another will not, says planning professor Thomas J. Campanella. Investing heavily in healthcare infrastructure and improving disease preparedness and response will be crucial to prevent catastrophic labor market losses, even if cities do end up becoming less dense as more people relocate to the countryside, says professor Rebecca Katz. And businesses and entrepreneurs facing financial hardship will need an unprecedented level of support, opening up a space for potential regenerators to exist alongside business incubators and accelerators, says Bruce Katz, founder of an urban innovation social enterprise.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.